Is technology for the young? Or can I play too?

Posted: March 9, 2009 in computers, hardware, Uncategorized
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I’ve always tried to keep on top of all the latest electronic gadgets, equipment, consoles, phones, computers, etc. and it really is a full time obsession to try to learn a little about everything especially with the speed at which we as a people are inventing and advancing things.  As part of this, I think just trying to keep up with all the ways to contact people and stay in touch and updated is causing me to develop A.D.D.  i mean constantly checking email accounts, phone messages, txt messages, i.m.’s, tweets, etc, we are being bombarded by people who need to get ahold of us, and of course everyone needs your attention right now!  The constant jumping from program or device to another program or device makes it difficult to spend much time concentrating on one thing.  This blog entry is a perfect example of that.  As i was writing my iphone rang, my email notified me of a new message and gtalk is trying desperately to get my attention with its taskbar icon (yes gtalk, i see you, i’ll be right with you…)

The old expression  “Jack of all trades, Master of none” when it applies to me, could really be changed to ” Jack of all tech, Master of some, Novice at many”.  I try my hand at as many of the ways of communicating i can, within reason of course, because as i mentioned, i enjoy knowing about all this stuff and really i have been on the search for the be-all and end-all of clients or applications that would tie all the various ways together for some time, but that is a post for another time. 

This is beginning to sound a bit like a previous post of mine about hyper-connectivity, but really this is more about the ability to be proficient in all these programs than the shear number of programs.  I try to play with all the various new apps so i’m up-to-speed and current ( i imagine some of you are saying how NOT up-to-speed and current i am simply by using those words).  Its mostly about being able to speak intelligently about the latest and greatest when talking to peers and cohorts or clients and about being able to use them with some level of expertise, a task i must admit proves to be more difficult as time passes.  I type most of the day sitting in front of a computer so i’m fairly good at keyboarding, i could never make it as a secretary where all i was doing was typing, but then again i don’t have to.  The same can be said for using a mobile phone’s keyboard or the virtual keyboard on my iphone, and previously, the keyboard of my blackberry.  I can use them all fairly well, but not to the speed of the younger generation.  Is it my brain slowing down or my fingers just not young enough to keep up?  Aside from that, it is the constant barrage of messages that we can get.  Is being forced to deal with numerous distractions going to help or hinder us as we work?  Are we learning to deal with more items at once or just slowly developing a generation of people with no attention span?  Also, are we teaching ourselves to think more concisely by communicating constantly with so many people and about so many topics or merely no longer spending enough time on one thing before moving on to the next.

BTW – How many of us need to know what Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) is up to at all times, with Twitter he is practically lojacked.  Sure, its of his own doing, taking it upon himself to keep those interested aware of his travels etc.  His travels are most interesting, which is probably why he has a television show doing exactly that.  But is it really necessary for the masses to be updating and reporting on our lives 140 characters (or 160 characters if txting) at a time?  (I’m not picking on poor Stephen, he is just an example of the type of instant messaging that has become so prevalent over the past few years)

I guess time will tell, how we as a society are handling all the information overload and how it affects the different generations.  I imagine we’ll see a sharp increase in stress-related burnouts at an earlier age as teens who have grown up texting and i.m.-ing become a larger part of the workforce and all those distractions and communication means have to be combined with everything else necessary to actually make a living in the grownup world.  Who knows, maybe we’ll evolve to handle it better.  Zaphod Beeblebrox might have had it right in having a second head and a third arm grafted onto his body, sure would come in handy at times, of course finding clothes to fit would be a pain.



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